In a Special Meeting this Monday, July 24, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. the San Diego City Council will consider several proposals to amend the City’s Municipal Code, Land Development Code and Local Coastal Programs.  The items they want to change are in place for a good reason—they allow communities to have an already limited say in what is coming into their neighborhoods. In reality most of these proposals are a wish list manifesto for developers couched under the guise of increasing affordable housing.

The City Council meeting on July 24th may be your ONLY opportunity for public comment.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? (Be sure to scroll down to the bottom.)

Join us at the Council meeting and voice your concerns about the proposals under consideration.  We can influence the City Council’s decision if we stand together and have a unified message! Tell and bring other neighbors with you!

Look here for important instructions on how to address the City Council.  It is important to address specific items being considered by Council (Items 600, 601, 602 and 603). However, you can make general comments during the Non-Agenda Public Comment period (e.g. density infill; diminishing public input along with easing all processes for developers; bypassing public input, etc.).

To better understand what’s at stake here is a summary of the potential impacts of the proposals.

  • Item 600: Reports from the San Diego Housing Commission, the Mayor’s Office, and Civic San Diego regarding programs and efforts to address housing needs. (Citywide) This will be them singing the praises for developers, and may get into easing requirements.
  • Item 601: Update City Council fees for Process Four and environmental appeals; amend the San Diego Municipal Code regarding Process Two-Process Four and environmental appeal scheduling and withdrawals of appeals. (Citywide) This is a proposal to increase fees for appealing a City Council decision from $100 to $1000, a $900 increase. Also makes for an expedited hearing time (60 days).  All this does is make it prohibitively expensive for the everyday citizen to appeal a decision. This item was heard and approved 4-0 by the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee on May 17, 2017.
  • Item 602: Amendments to the City’s Municipal Code and Local Coastal Program to Expand and Improve The City’s Affordable Housing/In-Fill Projects and Sustainable Building Development Regulations. (Citywide) This will amend Council Policy 600 “Affordable/In-Fill Housing and Sustainable Buildings Expedite Program.” ‘Expedite Program’ are the key words here. This Item will certainly get into all of the perks that developers will get in the name of ‘affordable housing’: expedited permitting with no public input, and possibly no individual presentation at Community Planning Groups. Various monetary benefits to developers along with reduced requirements for providing parking and DIF fees. Allows delaying payment of city fees until after construction.
  • Item 603: Amendments to the Land Development Code and Local Coastal Program to Modify the Companion Unit Regulations and Add Junior Units. (Citywide) Amendments to the Land Development Code and Local Coastal Program to modify the Companion Unit Regulations and add Junior Units.  This makes adding a Companion Unit (‘granny flat’ or rear unit on your property) much easier, and with less regulations and restrictions. Also allows adding ‘Junior Units’: the opportunity to build units less than 500 square feet completely within their existing home. This is one benefit to homeowners. It could also be used as a kind of ‘insurance’ against their property being demolished for large infill density. Having an additional income producing  living unit on the property would be attractive for buyers if the property went up for sale, and would certainly be a benefit to the property owner, especially those who have owned the property for many years, to add a back cottage on their property, creating an income stream for them.

 

SAMPLE MESSAGES

(Stress genuine concerns that community residents and planning groups are being pushed farther out of any input on infill development projects with the ease of permitting and automatic bonuses to developer to the detriment of the communities they impact.)

We applaud the City’s efforts to address homelessness and affordable housing.  However, changing the zoning codes, circumventing existing review processes and adding more loopholes for developers will not solve the housing problem.

  • What is the accepted definition of ‘affordable housing’? Are there any safeguards in place that these streamlined projects will not become market rate units?
  • Most new housing being built in San Diego is almost entirely built for market-rate buyers and renters, and has had the secondary effect of raising rents and land values in the existing housing stock and displacing many long-time residents who are forced to move outside the City.
  • Zoning changes can create enormous windfalls for developers. Stop the trend of supporting “solutions” that enrich investors and developers but leave those who need housing the most out in the cold.
  • Several incentives were put into place around this time last year, and the housing situation has only gotten worse.

 

Incentives should come with explicit provisions that meet certain minimum requirements for equity.

  • Amend the proposed changes to include safeguards and guarantees that protect and support long-term residents and low to moderate income individuals and families, ensuring streamlined projects won’t become market-rate.
  • Impacts of the proposed changes should be rigorously analyzed to support inclusive and informed decision-making. Assess the effectiveness of any newly adopted proposal, and revisit it every one to three years.

 

The community, not legislators or developers, should be allowed more input—not less—when decisions are made regarding design features, and insist on amenities that serve residents and positively impact our neighborhoods.

  • Expand the space, don’t contract it. Build capacity for robust community engagement in land use planning and policy-making.
  • Develop, formally adopt and mandate robust outreach, early consultation and inclusive engagement standards for major land use and development projects.
  • When residents are involved in the development process from beginning to end, there is much less resistance and more positive outcomes
  • With these developments possibly being built literally next door to where I live, how can I have any input or say as to what will surely overpower my residence, alter my current lifestyle and change my life completely?
  • Having a massive project built next door to me or even just in my neighborhood is a death knell for other property owners. It virtually guarantees that one by one residents will no longer enjoy the lifestyle they had for years and will sell and move. Developers will scarf up those properties one by one and with the new developments, the whole character of a neighborhood is lost forever.

 

Here are links to important reference documents.

 

Absolutely cannot make it to the City Council meeting?